Negligence in a personal injury case is the key legal premise used to prove a personal injury case.
To win any legal battle a person needs to prove their case based on the relevant legal concept. In personal injury cases this legal premise is negligence.
The injured party has to prove that there was fault through negligence in another person or persons that was the main cause of the accident. It is therefore imperative to understand what negligence is in legal terms. Actually in legal terms the meaning is much deeper.
An easy way to understand what negligence in a personal injury case is by listing the key steps required to prove negligence in a court of law. They are as follows;
- Prove that a person had the duty of care: Legally this is the responsibility every person has to avoid causing harm to others. The injured party needs to start by proving that the said person in the particular case failed in their duty of care responsibility.
- Show the accused persons’ precise conduct in violating their duty of care responsibility.iii) Show that the injured party suffered genuine injury as a result of the breach of duty of care by the accused.
Let’s look at examples that illustrate these key elements further.
Personal Injury Lawsuits And Duty Of Care
The conduct of the defendant must be shown as having failed to meet the minimum level of reasonable care but this must take into consideration the circumstances surrounding the particular accident.
Let’s take a traffic accident as an example. A driver always has a legal responsibility to drive their vehicle with such care that they do not endanger the lives of others. The weather, visibility and conditions on the road at the time of the accident are some of the factors that will have to be taken into consideration in deciding whether or not the driver in question met the required standards of care.
There are traffic laws that guide a driver in ensuring that they meet their obligation and so if they broke one of these laws in causing the accident that injured others then their breach is established. Let’s look at other examples;-
Business and property owners are obliged under the law to ensure that their premises are safe from posing any danger to the public. They must always act quickly to correct any hazardous situations that may develop, for instance a slippery floor that may cause injury to somebody.
Doctors and other medical professionals must handle patients with the standard of competence expected in their medical specialty. Their peers appearing as expert witnesses will help the court establish whether or not the accused person met the set standards in this in a particular case.
In consumer products manufacturers, distributors and retailers have an obligation to ensure that the product they are handling does not pose any danger or risk to the consumer.
Determining Negligence In A Personal Injury Case
The injured party, usually through their attorney, must show how the accused person was at fault legally and breached their duty of care or acted in such a way that is below the expected standards of care in causing the accident and ultimately the injuries suffered by the victim. The defendant could be guilty in that they broke a traffic law which could be proved by a police report on the violation or by an eye witness account.
This can also be proved by the accused person’s own description of what transpired, most probably during cross examination. In some instances the physical evidence like damage to a car can be enough to prove this.
It is important to note that these cases are never clear cut and anything can happen as the evidence unfolds. For example it may emerge that the defendant also did things which contributed to the accident even if the accused was also at fault. In this particular instance the damages paid to the injured party will be reduced by what the insurance adjuster or the court decides is the “percentage” of their fault in the matter.
However this is NOT the law in all states. Some states will not pay a single cent in compensation if it is proved that the injured party even had the smallest percentage of fault in the accident.
Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury cases can get complicated really fast. This is why you need to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. You can contact any one of our personal injury lawyers in any of the Cape Cod, Massachusetts or Rhode Island offices at (800)200-7752 or fill out our contact form for a free initial consultation.